Philly’s soda tax

Philly soda tax revenue way up in March

The total increased by almost a million dollars that month

Anne's Place in Fishtown warns customers sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages will increase in price because of the soda tax.

Anne's Place in Fishtown warns customers sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages will increase in price because of the soda tax.

Mark Dent/Billy Penn

Sugary beverage tax collections increased in Philadelphia this month by nearly a million dollars compared to the previous month, the city’s Department of Revenue announced today.

So far, the city has received $7 million in collections for the month of March for the three-month-old sugar-sweetened beverage tax. Those taxes were due April 20. That’s well over the $5.9 million revenue collected in February following the first month of the soda tax and also an increase over the $6.2 million collected in March following the second month.

City officials wrote in a news release that Department of Revenue officials “remain confident” the tax will reach its fiscal year 2017 goal of bringing in $46 million (which covers six months of beverage distribution). The city expects to make more than $90 million over a full year of the beverage tax.

“We are satisfied with what has been a relatively smooth implementation and collection of the tax, especially when you take into account the late March storm, which can often affect revenues for taxes like this,” Revenue Commissioner Frank Breslin said in the release.

Philadelphia was the first major city in America to implement a sugar-sweetened beverage tax. The 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax went into effect Jan. 1.

City officials predicted the first few months of the tax would generate less revenue as businesses came into compliance with the tax and sold out of product that was purchased through distributors before the tax went into effect.

A new study showed that in Berkeley, Calif. — the only other city to enact such a tax — sugary drink sales fell 10 percent after a year and there was no evidence of higher grocery bills.

Want some more? Explore other Philly’s soda tax stories.

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